UPDATE: Death Toll in China's Highway Collapse Rises to 24, 54 People still Trapped

Highway collapse in China's Guangdong kills 19, traps dozens in vehicles. Rescue efforts ongoing as authorities investigate cause, highlighting infrastructure vulnerability to extreme weather.

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Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Highway Collapse in China Traps 54 People, Kills at Least 19

Highway Collapse in China Traps 54 People, Kills at Least 19

About 24 people are believed to have died after a section of the S12 highway in Dabu County, Guangdong Province, China, collapsed around 2:10 am local time on Wednesday, May 1st. The rubble has trapped 54 people in 20 vehicles.

The incident caused a 17.9-meter (58.7-foot) stretch of the highway to cave in, sending 18 vehicles plummeting down a slope. "I heard a loud noise and saw a hole opening up before the collapse," a witness reported.

Rescue efforts involving around 500 workers from various agencies, including public security, emergency response, firefighting, and mining rescue departments, were immediately dispatched to the scene. As of 3:00 pm, at least 19 people were confirmed dead, and 30 others were hospitalized with injuries. The search and rescue operation is still ongoing to locate and assist any remaining trapped individuals.

The cause of the highway collapse is currently under investigation. However, the incident occurred after the area had experienced heavy rainfall in recent days. Authorities described the collapse as a "natural geological disaster" caused by persistent heavy rain. Parts of the S12 highway were closed in both directions, and drivers were ordered to take detours.

Why this matters: The highway collapse in Guangdong is the latest in a series of deadly disasters to hit the province, which has been lashed by extreme weather events in recent weeks. The incident highlights the vulnerability of infrastructure to the impacts of heavy rainfall and potential geological instability, raising concerns about public safety and the need for thorough inspections and maintenance of transportation networks.

This tragedy struck during the Labour Day holiday, a peak travel period in China when highways are toll-free. Guangdong province has experienced severe flooding and landslides in recent weeks, which have been linked to the impacts of climate change. The Ministry of Emergency Management and the National Fire and Rescue Administration have sent teams to the scene to guide the rescue work. Local authorities have closed the affected section of the S12 highway in both directions while the investigation into the cause of the collapse continues.

Key Takeaways

  • A highway collapse in Guangdong, China killed 19, and trapped 54 in 20 vehicles.
  • Rescue efforts involved 500 workers; 30 others were hospitalized with injuries.
  • The collapse occurred after heavy rainfall, authorities called it a "natural disaster".
  • The incident highlights vulnerability of infrastructure to extreme weather impacts.
  • The affected section of highway closed as investigation into cause continues.